YMCA FULL STORY
I never thought I would create a web page demanding the YMCA change its locker room signage. I'm not really a protest guy. More of a free-hug guy, but that's another story. Also I was a member of the YMCA for over 50 years. My mom taught me to swim at the YMCA in South Carolina as a red-haired freckle-faced toddler scared to put his face in the water. Decades later I'm with the only dad in a mommy-and-me swim class coaxing my baby to put her face in the water. So this is not easy for me. Frankly, I don't have time either. I am a single father raising two teenagers on my own. Somehow I find myself up at 4 am many mornings typing away at a glowing screen. Why? Because every week I hear another story of a female startled by a male suddenly in front of them in the women's locker room, and the YMCA does little. With 20 million members in 10,000 locations that is a big risk to do nothing about a male present with females in their most vulnerable position. Most of these women are forced to shower and change with males I hear their stories secondhand, but I have heard quite a few face-to-face. Sometimes tears come from them, other times trembling. and even extreme rage. But when I hear these stories on the news or directly in my ear, I don't see a stranger telling me their story, I see my two teenage daughters. Then one day it was my own daughter being short-changed on her feelings at my YMCA in Hampshire County MA.
It started with a simple call to my YMCA after seeing an older woman Julie Jaman banned from her Y for calling out a male staring at young girls taking off their swimsuits. So I called my YMCA to see if this was true was the YMCA really allowing males in the women's locker room? Yep turns out they were, and they almost gloated about it. Saying something about inclusivity. I think the point of a locker room is inclusivity, not exclusivity. The staff member told me if my daughter was uncomfortable with showering in spaces with nude males she should go to the gender locker room. I left a message after a message for the YMCA director to call me back. Even sent emails and filled out a complaint on the official YMCA website no response. I finally got a response from the Y. Their lawyers threatened police action for exposing the YMCA. So I took to social media to share my story. Almost all my accounts were suspended. Twitter. Instagram. Nextdoor. Linkedin... So I started a petition on change.org to demand action. All were removed. So left with no voice. I went to the YMCA to let members know what was going on. I was not there but a few minutes and three cops pulled up. A few seconds later two employees of the YMCA came out to give me a no-trespassing order. They did not return my phone calls, my emails, or any communication attempts. I was a member for 50 years and this is how Hampshire YMCA in Northampton MA treats me.
See here's the thing. The YMCA clearly wants this swept under the rug. Having a Young Man's Christian Center that welcomes males in spaces where females are naked can't be good for business. So they hide it by intimidation, threats, police action, and sometimes expulsion. There is a simple solution though. Change all the signs in your private spaces to be transparent with their 20 million members. Install signs that read every gender is allowed in every space. Because as I heard directly from the director of a less hostile YMCA. "males and females are allowed in every private space". If you are so proud of your policy put on your signs so members know what they are walking into. That's what this petition is about demanding the YMCA install accurate signage all over the USA. It's actually false advertising if you don't. So please sign my petition.
Button to sign the petition.